As one of the most anticipated tours gets ready to take flight, BlackGospel.com spent 5 good minutes with one of the headliners and showstoppers of our time – Karen Clark Sheard – to talk about The Festival Of Praise. As a member of the legendary Clark Sisters and First Lady for the Greater Emmanuel Institutional C.O.G.I.C, Karen has been bringing good ole fashion ‘church’ to audiences for decades.
As a solo artist, the baby of the Clark Sisters family has successfully connected and continued to remain relevant to a new generation of Jesus-worshippers. But now, with a blockbuster tour about to kick-off, Karen Clark Sheard is getting ready to join an impressive cast of artists carrying the banner of praise. The conversation with Karen touched on her motivation to get back on the road, her conversation with her husband, Bishop J. Drew Sheard about being away from home and exactly when Karen first met Fred Hammond back in Detroit.
Christopher Heron: Let’s begin with the upcoming Festival Of Praise tour. Who made that first call to you to join the tour for you and how did that conversation go?
Karen Clark Sheard: The first call was from Ray (Hammond). Ray and Fred are like brothers to me. Ray called me and I thought he was just checking in. He said, ‘’I need you.’’ And I said, ‘’For what? What do you need?’’ He said, ‘’Well, Fred wants you on a tour with him.’’ And I’m like, ‘’What!?! Me!?!’’
I told Ray, “I’m already on a tour, it could be overtaxing with the audience.’’ He said, ‘’Uh-uh we’re going to have a totally different audience, you’re coming. Fred wants you here.’’ I was so honored I was also very excited about being on the same stage with Fred.
Christopher Heron: Now, did you have that very important conversation with your husband, Bishop John Drew Sheard, about going on the road?
Release Date: July 17, 2015 Label: Karew Records, exclusively distributed by Entertainment One US LP
Karen Sheard: Actually, I did because I’m coming out of one tour and going into another one, so I did. I had to go to my husband, my soulmate, my provider [laughs] and let him know, ‘’Sir, I just want you to know.’’ I had to give him a heads-up and let him know that I’m going to be on the road, and I’m going to be ministering. So when he heard that ministry is in the mix that kind of helped the situation. So as long as I’m home by Sunday, he said it’s okay because I’m a pastor’s wife, and I have First Lady duties that I need to attend to, so he was very open-minded.
Christopher Heron: At this stage, do you still enjoy going on the road, considering you have so many other duties to attend to?
Karen Sheard: My driving motivation is serving. I’m thankful and grateful for the gift that God gave me, and I realize that it comes from God, and I don’t feel I have authority over this gift. I want God to know,
‘’I’m humbly grateful for the gift that you’ve given me, and I will be very careful how I handle, not only the gift but the anointing on my life.’’
That being said, I’m very careful to say, “no” to some things when it comes to ministry. I try to put things in its proper perspective, so that everything in God’s will can be fulfilled because that’s the most important thing. I believe that if God opened a door for me, there’s a reason. That means that somebody’s life is at stake. I’m out there ministering to serve and sometimes it’s overwhelming, but it’s worth the stress to have someone say, ‘’You know what? That defining moment or that timing that God opened up for me changed my life.’’
That right there gives me driving motivation. You don’t want to make the wrong decision and mess up everything, and mess up somebody’s life and lose somebody’s life, so I am out there for God to use me. It’s worth the stress knowing that I’m there to serve.
Christopher Heron: Can you think back and remember when you first met Fred Hammond in Detroit, Michigan?
Karen Sheard: Wow! That was years ago. I think it was during a church service. He was serving in the church. We knew him as The Winans base musician. He wasn’t an artist then. He wasn’t even a part of Commissioned then. He was just a musician. That’s what he was known by.
He was always known as one of the baddest base players. We were like, ‘’Oh, yeah. That’s the bad dude.’’ We really looked up to him as one of the greatest musicians out there in Detroit, and that’s what he was popular for. We talked and that’s when he told us, ‘’Oh, I love me some Clark Sisters…I’m looking forward to one day being on the same stage with y’all.’’ And I’m like, ‘’Really? Maybe God is going to make that happen.’’ And look at it now. It’s just amazing to see how things worked out together, and I appreciate Fred because he didn’t forget about his sister, Karen.
For more information on the upcoming tour including dates, locations, artists and tickets, log on to the official website at www.festivalofpraisetour.com.